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Dobutamine Stress Echocardiography (Echo)

This type of echocardiogram uses the drug dobutamine and harmless sound waves to help see if any blood vessels in your heart are blocked. This test is often done in a hospital or cardiac testing center.

Image of patient undergoing procedure

Before Your Test

  • Mention what medicines you take and ask if you should take any before the test.

  • Don’t eat, smoke, drink alcohol, or have any caffeine for 4 hours before the test. Sips of water are okay.

  • Make sure to wear a 2-piece outfit. You may need to undress from the waist up and put on a short hospital gown.

  • Please arrive at least 15 minutes early for your test.  This procedure will be done at the Rocheter Southeast clinic. Please check in at the main front desk.

Note:  Always check with your insurance in regards to expenses incurred for procedures that you are having.

During Your Test

  • Small pads (electrodes) are placed on your chest to record your heartbeat.

  • An intravenous (IV) line is started in your arm.

  • A painless device (transducer) coated with cool gel is moved firmly over your chest. This device creates sound waves that make images of your heart on a screen.

  • Dobutamine is then slowly given through the IV. It is normal to feel your heart pound for a few minutes.

  • Atopine is another medication that may be used to help increase your heart rate during this test.  Potentially serious side effects may occur in people with undiagnosed narrow angle glaucoma.  If you receive atropine and develop a red and painful eye or blurred vision, contact your primary caren provider immediately.

  • Echo images are taken while you feel the effects of the drug and after your pulse returns to normal. You may be given a second drug to slow your heartbeat to a normal level.

  • Your heart and blood pressure are monitored during and after the test.

  • In some cases, a microbubble contrast agent (which does not contain iodine) may be used to make the echo images clearer.  A microbubble is a very small bubble of gas that dissolves on its own.  The contrast is given through a needle placed in a vein (IV).  Tell you healthcare provider about any allergies you have before it's given.

After Your Test

When the test is over, you may return to your normal routine. Ask your doctor about taking any medicine that you were told to skip before the test. Your doctor will discuss your test results with you during a future office visit. The test results help the doctor plan your treatment and any other tests that may be needed.

If you have any questions about this procedure, call the following number and ask for the cardiology scheduling desk 507.288.3443.

Report Any Symptoms

Be sure to tell the doctor if you feel any of the following during the test:

  • Chest, arm, or jaw discomfort

  • Irregular heartbeat

  • Feeling flushed

  • Red, painful eye or blurred vision (if given atropine)

  • Shortness of breath

  • Nausea

  • Headache


© 2000-2017 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.